The Naples Public Prosecutor's office has confirmed that some 40 arrests have been made in the culmination of a three-year-long anti-piracy investigation.

Prior to the latest arrests, the investigation had seen the seizure of more than one million pirate CDs and DVDs; 32 illegal CD-burning set-ups were dismantled and 2,300 CD-burners confiscated.

The investigation was initiated in 2006 by Italy's Guardia di Finanza (Fiscal Police) after a seizure of pirated CD-Rs and DVD-Rs near Rome. Before the latest arrests, the operation had seen 173 individuals prosecuted for copyright infringement. Fiscal police officers were assisted by members of collecting society SIAE's anti-piracy unit.

During the course of the investigation, it emerged that control of the Naples piracy market was in the hands of two rival gangs belonging to the Camorra (the Neapolitan version of the Mafia). Labels body FIMI's president Enzo Mazza notes that the two gangs had been fighting for control of the pirated goods market, leading to several recent woundings and two deaths.

"This shows that musical piracy should not be underestimated," says Mazza, "It is very much in the hands of organised crime and sometimes people even get killed."

Details of the final charges resulting from the latest arrests have not yet been revealed.